Amazing Grace

It was late. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned, flipped my pillow over; got up, used the bathroom and curled back up in bed. And then, just as I was finally drifting pleasantly into that space between consciousness and sleep-like-a-log, I heard a voice call out.

"Moooooooom! Moooooooooooomy!" she moaned.

I tried my usual reaction: pillow over my head, silent not-so-kind words directed toward anyone who has ever told me to "cherish these moments because they go by too fast". But something about this particular whimper drew me in, compelling me to throw off the blanket of laziness and the "but what about my sleep" grumblings that have become so familiar to me in the wee hours of the morning. Reluctantly, I made my way into my eight year old's room and found her fast asleep. She thrashed once, turned over and then stillness.

Irritated, I was about to walk away when I noticed an unmistakable smell. Gas. Natural gas. Stovetop gas. I-will-explode-if-you-fail-to-get-rid-of-me gas. In my semi-comatose state, I thought maybe it was just the less than savory fish bowl on her dresser. I took it to the bathroom but the smell remained. Fully alert now, I made my way downstairs where I found one of the stovetop burners on just enough to pour gas into our house. I threw open windows, thankful for the twenty-one degrees that came blustering inside and then diligently went room to room, checking on kids, sniffing the air: no smell of gas anywhere except in the random bedroom upstairs.

Sleep alluded me. I read, I prayed, I thanked God for the voice beckoning me to follow. I promised myself that I'd never feel the same aggravation about kids waking me in the night. Ever again. I tried to get back to sleep but I couldn't forget the smell still lingering in my daughter's room. I shuddered at the what ifs. After another hour I heard her call out again. Moooooom! This time, I jumped out of bed, making good on my promise, and scrambled into her room. She was still sound asleep. But the smell was now gone which made room for peace to reenter the night. Sleep soon followed.

Friends, I can't claim for certain that it was an act of God. I can't tell you for sure whether it was an experience of divine intervention or a very fortunate coincidence. But what I do know is that no matter what condition we are in, no matter where we find ourselves, when we hand over our reluctance and respond to the call, God's awesome grace can begin to work its incredible wonders. Simply by showing up, we receive. Blessing after blessing. Grace after grace. And as it turns out, it is an amazing, life-giving grace. One that truly saves.

(And for the record, while my attitude about night-time wakings may have been slightly altered by this experience, when my boys woke me an hour early the next morning, I must admit, it took me a good long moment to allow that same gentleness to enter my heart, preventing me from grounding them from all they love for the rest of their lives here on earth so help them God!......Hey, no ones perfect!)

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